What’s In a Name? That Which We Call Capital Controls

Author/Editor:

Atish R. Ghosh ; Mahvash S Qureshi

Publication Date:

February 12, 2016

Electronic Access:

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Disclaimer: This Working Paper should not be reported as representing the views of the IMF.The views expressed in this Working Paper are those of the author(s) and do not necessarily represent those of the IMF or IMF policy. Working Papers describe research in progress by the author(s) and are published to elicit comments and to further debate

Summary:

This paper investigates why controls on capital inflows have a bad name, and evoke such visceral opposition, by tracing how capital controls have been used and perceived, since the late nineteenth century. While advanced countries often employed capital controls to tame speculative inflows during the last century, we conjecture that several factors undermined their subsequent use as prudential tools. First, it appears that inflow controls became inextricably linked with outflow controls. The latter have typically been more pervasive, more stringent, and more linked to autocratic regimes, failed macroeconomic policies, and financial crisis—inflow controls are thus damned by this “guilt by association.” Second, capital account restrictions often tend to be associated with current account restrictions. As countries aspired to achieve greater trade integration, capital controls came to be viewed as incompatible with free trade. Third, as policy activism of the 1970s gave way to the free market ideology of the 1980s and 1990s, the use of capital controls, even on inflows and for prudential purposes, fell into disrepute.

Series:

Working Paper No. 16/25

Subject:

English

Publication Date:

February 12, 2016

ISBN/ISSN:

9781498332835/1018-5941

Stock No:

WPIEA2016025

Price:

$18.00 (Academic Rate:$18.00)

Format:

Paper

Pages:

45

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